Three Decades

cakeYes, this is a cake.  (This is a picture of a cake.)  No- I did not get to devour the entire thing.

Some would call this a “major milestone”, but I consider it a pain in the pancreas.

At the beginning of January, I “celebrated” a 30 year anniversary with Type 1 diabetes.

I use “celebrate” loosely, as I neither enjoyed nor appreciated three decades of needles, injections, blood tests, blood draws, tongue bites from low bloodsugars, arthritis/frozen shoulders, low stomach emptying that causes havoc with my bloodsugars, the frantic reaction of my parents to a hypoglycemic reaction, or the slim chance of overwhelming guilt I will feel when ReeRee is diagnosed with the disease from my genetics.

Good people embrace their weakness and proclaim to the world the wonder they have learned from the trials and how they would never change a thing.

I would trade for a healthy pancreas.

I would trade for a normal, guilt free childhood.  One that doesn’t matured me at age 5.  Living with death around the corner for that long takes a toll on your soul.

I would trade for the millions of dollars I have spent on the countless strips, needles, infusion sets, and kind but uneducated doctor visits.  I wish my parents didn’t have to endure the financial hardship raising two diabetic children in the worst ag economic recession.

I would trade for a life speckled with freedom to change plans (before planning the next basal due to the change), freedom to exercise without the belly dragging lows (a marathon almost sounds fun), and freedom to work at a job that doesn’t have health insurance.

I would trade for a future not painted full of fear by doctors- blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, nerve damage… I’m so looking forward to the next 30 years- oh wait, the doctors say the average life expectancy of a diabetic is age 55.  (More than likely, I’ll be dead to celebrate 60 years with diabetes.)

I would trade for a sense of self-worth not based on the number on the meter’s screen.  A good person has perfect control, right?

I would even trade diabetes for cancer.  Too much?  Consider this- I will NEVER defeat the disease called “diabetes”, but many people live and conquer cancer.  I would like to imagine a life “cured” and live diabetes-free.

So here’s to you, Diabetes, and 30 years.  I still hate you.

Categories: Diabetes- Type 1 | Tags: , | Leave a comment

What a Bad Day Looks Like

If you have ever remodeled, you know there are bad days and really bad days.

Never been through a remodel… well let me help you with a visual.

What a bad day looks likeThis is the middle of the bad day.

The first part of the bad day was finding water gushing from the bottom of my house AFTER the plumbers had put in new water lines.  Because you know, the old pipes leaked and I didn’t want to deal with leaky pipes.

I had gotten home after midnight the night before and taken vacation to get some texturing done before our busy season started.  Little sleep, no time to buy groceries thus no food to pack for a decent lunch or snack or nibble.

So I was tired and crabby and hungry and in a hurry.  Finally, I finished texturing a room and went to clean up.  My friend Dave showed me how to climb on the bucket and lid and it would pop the lid shut.

I wondered to myself if Dave had ever fell off.  I was pretty sure I would fall off, but so far I stayed on top.

Until today, when the lid collapsed into the bucket of drywalling mud.  We are now at the middle of the bad day.

My right tennis shoe sunk to the bottom- mud oozed up my pant leg. With a loud, rushing OOOSSSHH, I pulled my shoe from the goop.  I didn’t realize the white blob, except for the two laces sticking out.

I thought of leaving my shoe as is, but that mud turns to cement.  So I rinse out my shoe and sock, put on my insulated winter boots (yes- it was 95 degrees that day) and finished up at the house.

Are we done with my bad day?  No, the end is coming.

ReeRee and I went up to the arena to watch Newt and his 13 year old nephew, Sparky, team rope.  Since I was sweating in my insulated boots and cold sloppy joe meat wasn’t tasting so good, I convinced ReeRee to leave the “rodeo” and go home.

There was one roping steer that jumped THROUGH the fence several times.  He was jumping through gate #2 as Sparky chased him to the corner.

Sparky got off to open the wire gate and drug it behind him.  Roddy, our beautiful buckskin horse, followed behind and stepped into the wire dragging behind Sparky.

I jumped from my car and ran down the hill.  We were going to sell Roddy next year- he was my ticket to paying our taxes and maybe a new refrigerator, now pulling back the gate tight with his leg still tangled up.

Then I noticed Sparky was nowhere to be seen.  He had been hit by the horse or the gate post and laid in a pile with his t-shirt pulled over his head.  He wasn’t moving- at all.

Roddy, by this time, had pulled the gate all the way over to the fence, where he fell into the wires.  Fearful the horse would freak out again and trample Sparky, I tried to move him.

As soon as I touched him, Sparky woke up.  We managed to get out of the way on the other side of the fence.  He had some pokes in his arm from the barbs, and a scratch on his eye where he got hit, but nothing else.

Newt untangled Roddy in the meantime.  Roddy had two pokes on either side of his hoof, but nothing else.

That bad day could have ended a lot worse!

Categories: Home Remodel, Ranching in the Sandhills | Leave a comment

So fast

ReeRee is growing up too fast.  I look at her baby pictures and tear up.

Three and freeShe looks so big in this picture, but someday I will look back and think what a little thing she was.

Time is going by too fast.

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Plant of the Week- Common Evening Primrose

The cool and wet spring and summer have been good for the “Common Evening Primrose”.  (I used to hate writing this long name on our high school range judging score cards- there just wasn’t enough room on the little space for the name.)

Common evening primroseThe road ditches are full of the bright yellow flowers.  The color is bright and clean and refreshing against the dark green grass leaves.  However, I would never want to paint my walls this color.

Also known as the “Fourcorner Evening Primrose” because of the four yellow petals.

This plant is a biennial, meaning the plant only lives for two years. Most biennials flower the second year.

The flowers will turn into green bananas, full of seeds.  I’ve also heard this referred to as the “Banana Plant”.

Did the primose do well at your place?

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Work on the house has been dragging on.  Mostly because my army of one is wearing down.

Newt took ReeRee for a couple days, so I could try to finish… something!  I like checking things off my list and so far I have an entire list of partially done projects.

To try to kill the boredom of mudding beads around the windows and doors, I brought my new Johnny Cash CD to the “new” house.

At first, I listened to all the songs.  Then I mixed it up with random selection.  Then I realized I how long I was mudding and how little I was getting done when the songs started over.

So I kept “Hurt” playing.  Over and over and over.  For a whole afternoon.  Time flies when you can’t tell how many hours you’ve been mudding trimwork.

I have a talent of listening to a song a million times and not remembering how it goes.  Then I wondered what the song is about-did Johnny beat his battle with cancer?  Or did his wife die?

I listened to the song so many times, I started guessing myself on the words.

So I looked up the lyrics and you will see, I was wrong about most of the song.

(originally by Nine Inch Nails-WHAT? 9 ” Nails, Johnny didn’t write the song!)

I hurt myself today (I shot myself in the hand with a staple gun, but that was last weekend)
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain (Yep, I must have hit a nerve with the staple.  The hand is a little tingly.)
The only thing that’s real
The needle tears a hole (ouch)
The old familiar sting  (I hear ya, Johnny.  Had a few injections in my life…)
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything (The feel-good drugs haven’t kicked in yet)

What have I become
My sweetest friend (I thought it was “Swedish” friend for a while)
Everyone I know goes away
In the end
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt (Estate planning anyone?)
I will let you down (Sounds like Estate Planning or lack of)
I will make you hurt (Like the staple gun hurt?)

I wear this crown of thorns
Upon my liar’s chair (I thought it was “wired” chair.  Again, I thought the song was about Johnny’s battle with cancer.  Nine Inch Nails ruined that thought.)
Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair (But a good mudder can fix about any broken drywall hole.  Broken thoughts-no.)
Beneath the stains of time  (Who wrote this song?  It is so descriptive!)
The feelings disappear (Old hurts- gone.  Old people seem to mellow with age.)
You are someone else
I am still right here (Coming from the guy who just asked who he was a chorus ago… Either he is mental or the drugs via the needle sting kicked in.)

[Chorus again]

If I could start again
A million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way

The CD player refused to play the next day.  I killed it with “Hurt”.

Categories: Home Remodel | 1 Comment

Plant of the Week- Needleandthread

Let’s continue on our journey of Plant ID with another cool-season, bunch grass.

This grass is a favorite among youngsters, especially if you have siblings.

Needleandthread seedheadYes, I’m talking about “Needleandthread”.  Those seeds with the long awns and sharp tip turn brown and harden as the summer progresses.

Most ranch kids remember riding through the pasture, reaching off their saddle, grabbing and grabbing until you had a nice handful of needleandthread seeds, and then loping past your brother (or sister).  If you were good (and they weren’t paying attention), you could get a perfect bulleyes of hundreds of “needles” stuck in the back of their shirt.

Of course, your siblings will retaliate and get even with you.  They might even gang up on you.  Do you take blow after blow of needles?  This is why you ride the fastest horse…to run away.

For the more mature rancher, needleandthread is an excellent source of protein and energy early in the spring.  So how do you tell if you have needleandthread without the seedhead?

It grows in a bunch.

It heads out in the spring- usually May.

It has a ligule.  This is the best way to tell.

Needleandthread liguleSee that paper-like thing sticking up?  That is called a “ligule”.  When you pull down the leaf blade, the paper rabbit ears stick out.

Ligule = Needleandthread.  (Of course other plants have ligules, but not very many.)

So go forth, and commence impaling your siblings with nature’s darts!

Categories: Plant of the Week, Ranching in the Sandhills | Leave a comment

A. Sprinkle Toes

We got a new puppy- like “last minute” got a new puppy.

If you know me, you know how much I love taking care of puppies (not) and making quick decisions (not, again).

After Buster got hit by a car, we are one cowdog short.  A neighbor called and told us about a litter of puppies that were $500 each and spoken for.  Then the husband passed away, and the family didn’t know who the puppies went to.  Now the pups are 4 months old and much cheaper.

So after a speaking engagement, I picked up the black-and-white border collie puppy the next day.  Karen, the owner, was nice enough to let me borrow her kennel to haul him home.

Newt was giving ReeRee a bath when I got home.  The pup wouldn’t come out of the cage, so I finished ReeRee’s bath, while he extracted a puppy.

“Did you and Daddy come up with a name for the new puppy?” I asked.

The towel was wrapped around her serious face… “Yes, Sprinkle Toes.”

Sprinkle ToesA picture of Newt loping across the pasture popped into my head.  He and his dogs were moving cows.  Newt points an arm to the back of the herd and shouts, “GET BY, SPRINKLE TOES!”  And all the other cowboys snicker…

So Daddy and ReeRee came to a compromise- First Name: Ace, Middle Name: Sprinkle Toes.

ReeRee loving up A. Sprinkle Toes

I think Mr. A. Sprinkle Toes likes it here.

Categories: Ranching in the Sandhills | Leave a comment

She Wears Pearls to AI

ReeRee and I went to help Newt AI the heifers and cows.

Newt and I dressed for the part, but ReeRee felt the need to show off some bling.

“She wore pearls to AI” sounds like the beginning of some cowboy poetry.

She Wears Pearls to AI ReeRee thought AIing was quite interesting.  If you have not heard of Artificial Insemination (or AI), then viewer discretion  is advised.

She talked the entire time and here are some highlights:

“It’s raining POOP!  There is pooop everywhere- it’s a poop storm!”

“MomMom, can you walk down with me?  Will that cow get me?”

Gives Newt an AI glove, “Now Daddy, put that on your fingers, in the finger holes, now here is the goo.  Go stick your hand in that cow’s butt.”

“Ahhh, it’s hot!” referring to the steaming empty container bubbling with liquid nitrogen.

Shhh, ReeRee.  The cows are coming in, pretend you are a post. “MomMom, I want to be a post that sits on your feet.  Hahaha, have you seen a post sit before?”  (So much for the still, silent post impersonation.)

“What?  We’re done.  I don’t want to go take a bath and go to bed!” followed by sleep deprived tears and tantrums.

Newt was glad to be finished.  He AIed 301 head in 8 days.  Another reason I can’t wait for our house to be finished- we can actually see him during AI season.

Categories: Ranching in the Sandhills | 2 Comments

Plant of the Week- Prairie Junegrass

Thank you to my loyal reader who reminded me it is summer and “Plant of the Week” should include some grasses.

Here is the first 2014 “Plant of the Week”.  I boycotted anything house remodeling related this week and got outside to take some grass pictures.

Prairie Junegrass is a bunchgrass, which means it only reproduces through seeds.  And it grows in a bunch.

Prairie JunegrassTrue to its name, Prairie Junegrass puts up seedheads in June.  These seedhead are pollinating, so they are bushy and yellow.  Once pollination is over, the seedheads will close up and turn a brownish-tan color.

This is a very hard plant for me to identify if there is not a seedhead.  The leaves are shorter, fleshy, and deeply veined.  No ligules or auricles or special color.

Prairie junegrass is tasty to cattle, so if a pasture is overgrazed you won’t see this plant, or at least just the leaves.

There are just a few cool-season grasses that cattle LOVE in the Sandhills.  They prefer to eat them before the seedhead comes out, when it is just leaves.  Prairie junegrass is one of them.  Needleandthread and western wheatgrass are the others.

Cool-season grasses like to grow during Warm Days and Cool Nights.  They also like water and need good spring rains (and previous fall rains) to take off.  We have had all three, so the junegrass is looking good this year.Size reference P JunegrassPrairie junegrass is a short grass.  Only knee high to a toddler.

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House Colors- which would you choose?

Unfortunately for our budget, we need a new roof and siding.

The color combinations are endless, but I narrowed it to 3 options, depending on the availability of the siding.

You have one week to vote!

Categories: Home Remodel | 1 Comment

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